German Marquez career comes full circle ahead of start in Tampa

Aug 30, 2018; San Diego, CA, USA; Colorado Rockies starting pitcher German Marquez (48) pitches against the San Diego Padres during the first inning at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

It’s only fitting that the Colorado Rockies and German Marquez agreed to a five-year, $43 million contract extension when the club traveled to Tampa Bay for their first road series against the Rays since 2004.

The Rockies acquired Marquez from the Rays in 2016 in a deal that was built around relief pitcher Jake McGee. After three seasons with the club at the major league level, Marquez has emerged as the crown jewel of that deal and has evolved from a Single-A prospect in the Rays system to one of the featured arms in the Rockies’ starting rotation.

Jeff Passan of ESPN reports that the Rockies and the 24-year-old hurler agreed to terms on a deal that will keep Marquez locked up through the 2024 season. The extension eliminates Marquez’ pre-arbitration years, all of arbitration and one year of free agency.

Marquez will take the mound Wednesday afternoon in the final game of the Rockies’ series against the team that originally signed him as an amateur free agent in 2011.

“I was young,” Marquez said of the trade via Rox Pile. “They ended up trading me and I’m grateful the Rockies gave me an opportunity. I don’t really look back on it.”

General Manager Jeff Bridich and his staff have done a fine job acquiring and developing talent throughout his tenure; however, the deal for Marquez is the most effective trade the Harvard graduate has made to date.

Colorado shipped Corey Dickerson and prospect Kevin Padlo to Tampa in exchange for Marquez and McGee. The Rockies were the clear victors of the trade as Dickerson is no longer with the club and Padlo has yet to crack the big leagues.

Marquez is 27-19 with a 4.07 earned run average in his career and was dominant for the Rockies last season, posting a 14-11 record paired with a 3.77 ERA in 196 innings pitched. The season total tells only a part of the story as Marquez’ second half featured a 2.61 ERA and 12 strikeouts per nine innings.

Marquez set a club record for strikeouts in 2018 with 230 and also got the nod in two of the biggest games of the season for the club last year in both the National League West tiebreaker and game 3 of the National League Division Series.

The extension follows a trend around baseball of club’s locking up their core, young players through the arbitration period and the first years of free agency. Blake Snell, Luis Severino, Ronald Acuna Jr. and Xander Bogarts are just a few of the other players that have received extensions recently.

Marquez, along with Kyle Freeland, is the anchor of Colorado’s rotation and is the most talented arm of the bunch. His primary pitches are a mid-to-upper 90’s fastball and a bending slider. He also mixes in a sinker and curveball to keep hitters off-balance during at-bats.

Marquez has a bag of tricks in his pitch repertoire that he has continued to fine tune to his strengths and has shown exponential improvement over the initial portion of his career.

The extension will secure the prime years of Marquez’ career and provides some stability to the Rockies’ rotation for the foreseeable future. It’s a coincidence that the extension came together in the midst of a series against his former team, but serves as a reminder of how far Marquez has come as a pitcher and the bright future that is ahead for him in Colorado.

Marquez is 1-0 this season and pitched six innings, allowing one run on two hits with seven strikeouts in his season debut in the club’s second game against the Miami Marlins.